We live in a house that's nearly a century old. It has its charms (crown molding, hardwood floors, beautiful built-in cabinets), and it has its quirks (no insulation, drafty windows, a heating system that requires a manual water top-off every few days). One of the quirks of the house is that the downstairs half-bathroom, a later renovation made possible by sealing off the back entryway and converting it into a windowless closet of a room, is unprivately located between our stove and kitchen table. I mean, there's a door and everything, but there might as well not be. The noisy fan may give the illusion of privacy once you're cloistered within, but don't be fooled: everyone can still hear what's going on. If the spirit should happen to move you during dinner, you'd best take your business upstairs.
The other night, we were finishing up our spaghetti dinner. By "we," I mean "I" was finishing up. I'm always the last one done by a good 5 to 10 minutes, during which time I force the kids to remain at the table and give me details about their day. (It's amazing what you can find out when dessert is on the line.) This strategy doesn't work on Husband, however, who in his impatience had disappeared into the water closet.
Twirling my spaghetti, I began to hear some rumbling coming from that direction. The boys looked at each other and started giggling. A brief pause, and then the noises increased in volume and intensity. More giggling. By now, I recognized Husband's trademark theatrics. I paused with my spooled pasta halfway to my mouth while the sounds built up to an unsettling crescendo that defied physics in its interpretation of solid, liquid, and gas. I waited several seconds more to make sure he was done and to try to settle my gag reflex before finally allowing the still-suspended forkful of spaghetti to pass my lips. But then, mid-chew, it started up again, just as zealous as before—if not more so—like the encore of an overeager garage band or the delayed finale of the Waltham fireworks.
His symphony complete, Husband emerged to take a bow and bask in the accolades of the children:
Him: I knew it would be a crowd-pleaser.
Me: It was only 66.6% percent crowd-pleasing.
Him: I think any comedian would take those odds.
Honestly, I'm surprised it took him 11 years to think of it.